Chamber welcomes supports, but cautious on debt and deficits

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Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce welcomes supports for business, communities, and inclusive growth, but cautions on debt and deficits

The extension of business supports like CEWS and CERS, along with the creation of the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help the hardest hit businesses hire staff when they are ready, are key measures announced in today’s federal budget to help Sault Ste. Marie businesses weather the current wave of COVID-19. Long term planning by the federal government will be essential to the recovery of our national economy and our businesses according to the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.

“Today, the Government of Canada released a historic budget at a time when Canadians need it most,” said Sault Ste. Marie Chamber CEO, Rory Ring. “Canada’s 2021 Budget will give Sault Ste. Marie businesses much-needed supports to help navigate the current health crisis and lays the foundation for a strong and inclusive economic recovery.”

“I echo Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: The Budget’s focus on growth and jobs is an important step towards our economic recovery, but our growth drivers will need to shift from public spending to private investment to help get our finances under control. The plan to reduce deficits over the coming years is important, but it will depend on meeting our growth target,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

In 2021, Ontario will continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Leading up to Canada’s 2021 Budget, the OCC called for policies that will foster economic resiliency within our health care system and among those hit hardest by the pandemic such as small businesses, women, and racialized groups.

“Leading up to Budget 2021, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and the OCC urged federal and provincial governments to invest in the long-term affordability and accessibility of child care and address the shortage of early childhood educators. We are pleased with the Government of Canada’s historic investments and commitment to working closely with the provinces and territories on program design and delivery, as recommended in our report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario,” added Ring.

Some of the measures welcomed by the OCC in Canada’s 2021 Budget are:

Supports for business
  • Program extensions. As employers and workers continue confronting the headwinds of the pandemic, Budget 2021 commits to extending various business supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
  • Financing for small business and entrepreneurs. When small businesses thrive; communities thrive. Entrepreneurs, particularly women and racialized communities face several barriers to growth. We are pleased to see additional access to capital for small business and entrepreneurs through initiatives such as the enhancement of the Canada Small Business Financing Program and resources to support diverse Canadian entrepreneurs.
  • Digital Adoption Program.  This is an innovative program that will help create jobs for young people and help small business adopt new digital technologies which will be important to get our economy moving.
Support for communities
  • Regional Supports. COVID-19 is having uneven impacts on different regions of Ontario, accentuating existing disparities. Recovery will look different for each community. As many small business owners do not qualify for other support programs and are starved for capital, additional supports through several regional economic development agencies are welcome.
  • Further supports in broadband infrastructure. The pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide for people and businesses, particularly in remote and rural communities. Further commitment to connect all Canadians, including businesses, to reliable broadband is welcome news.
Support for inclusive growth
  • Child care. Child care can act as an economic equalizer to parents and mothers, particularly, women from minority communities. Affordable and accessible child care can help level the economic playing field for families.
  • Diversity and inclusion in procurement. There is both economic and social value in making our supply chains more diverse and inclusive. We welcome the Government of Canada’s commitment to modernize their procurement processes to expand opportunities for diverse businesses and suppliers that champion diversity. Changing the incentive structures is the most powerful way to change outcomes.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber has long held that skilled trades are vital to our economy. We were pleased to see today’s Budget propose $470 million to establish a new Apprenticeship Service which would help 55,000 first-year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades connect with opportunities at small- and medium-sized employers. In addition, to boost diversity in the construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades, this incentive will be doubled for employers who hire those underrepresented, including women, racialized Canadians, and persons with disabilities.

Read the full pre-Budget submission here.

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